Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 - The Year Of Living Unconditionally



I’m sitting in a cafĂ© with a glass of prosecco, the view of the Singapore River and my New Year notebook on one of those beautiful, rainy days that force you to reminisce. The notebook has documented my year-end thoughts and resolutions for over ten years. I read what I have written year after year and finally accept that an exercise regimen might not be my cup of tea. Travel to far off lands and random things like working towards fulfilling my dreams are more achievable. It’s just a matter of when they manifest in my life.

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Four years ago, on the last day of 2013, I promised myself that 2014 would be the year when I would leave Dubai for a new city. I spoke to my colleagues, found some contacts and secured an interview in Singapore at the start of January. As luck would have it, on the 1st day of 2014, I met a boy. It was love at first sight. Through my trip to Singapore and Bali later that month, we chatted continuously. I told him how much I loved this city and could see myself living here and he told me how he couldn’t wait to have me back so we could start dating. “If I can’t make it work with you, I can’t make it work with anyone,” he said to me a few weeks later.

The interview went well and they even made an offer. But, I was smitten. Everything he did was perfect. The way he called out my name, how he would cook for me on weekends, his plans to travel the world, his frown, his smile – everything. I decided to let go of the job because who needs a job when (you think) you’ve found your soulmate, right?
Many blissful months and an amazing holiday in Spain later, he suddenly got a job transfer, broke up with me and left Dubai in a week.

He moved to Singapore.
While my heart was trying to process this, what pissed the rational part of my brain was that he moved to Singapore.
That was supposed to be my move. He couldn’t steal that from me.

I stayed on in Dubai, cried for a few months - first for losing him and then for being silly enough to let go of the job. Eventually, I dated some nice and some weird people, I learned to drive, bought a car, climbed a mountain, rode a horse, started speaking Spanish, danced the tango and took a sabbatical to study art among other silly pursuits and resolutions in the years that followed.

I started to thank him a little each day for hurting me. The only way I could recover was to learn that I couldn’t take my one, precious life for granted.

Every day, my belief that the pieces of the puzzle would come together became stronger.

I was in Greece when I finally forgave him. It was early December, a few days before we were supposed to leave the island to go back to normal life. I was sitting on the rocks next to the beach with my New Year notebook, ready to document what life had meant to me in the past year. It was the feeling of coming out of a storm to a place and people who made me feel complete.

I wanted to write about the new experiences, the creative process, the family I found, the capacity to love I discovered, the absence of the need for validation from everyone and the purity of the island but each time I started, I burst out crying. I had no words to describe it. I was full gratitude and content but the words wouldn’t come and the tears wouldn’t stop.

I was happy.

Overjoyed to the brim, there was no room or reason for pain, hurt and grudge in my heart.
He was just someone who came and left. But what I felt at that moment and everything that led to it, was forever and truly mine.

I wrote what I was feeling – ‘Unconditional’

No resolutions or promises. 2017 would simply be unconditonal.

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I stare at the scribble on my notebook for a long-time tracing back the past 54 weeks to that time on the rocks in Paros.

I’m not sure if it was letting go, my conscious effort to embrace everything that came my way, fighting for what I wanted or the butterfly effect but somewhere, a star was waiting to shine on me. Life came full circle and there I was a few months into the year, fitting my life in ten boxes and taking back what was always mine – moving to Singapore.

This year is special not only because I moved to a city that I always wanted to live in but it is also a reminder for so much more -

To relentlessly chase dreams no matter how hard or far-fetched they may seem.

To take risks.

To believe that there is a better version of you just waiting to be peeled off.

To not give up when you feel like the stupidest person in the room or that all your choices were a mistake - To learn and come back stronger and with faith in who you are.

To ever so often, say, “NO, it’s not good enough,” – when it isn’t.

To embrace new friendships and find missing parts of yourself in people you’ve just met.

To have gratitude because everything comes together when it has to.

Most importantly, a reminder that it is inevitable that at some point again, doubt and fear could engulf me and I might feel everything is amiss.
I might end up stuck in a job, relationship or place where I am not appreciated.
I might become unsure of what I want to do with my life and who I want to be.
But amidst all this commotion, competition and things that might happen, I will let go.
There is a place I call home – where the beach is rocky, the sea has myriad shades of blue, people love without judgment or conditions, where none of this exists and I carry that unconditional love with me, all the time.

Here’s to living even more unconditionally in 2018.
To sharing, spreading, and embracing absoluteness.
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To new cities, friends, experiences, and stars that are just waiting to shine.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

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